“Saturday Night Live” got the perfect Bernie Sanders impersonator during the 2016 election when they booked “Curb Your Enthusiasm” star and creator Larry David, but they didn’t realize how perfect it was.
In a TCA panel talking about the upcoming ninth season of his HBO comedy classic, a reporter spilled the beans about a previously unannounced episode of the PBS show “Finding Your Roots” with David.
And the show revealed something fascinating. David is related to Sanders. No, really.
“I thought there must have been some connection to Bernie Sanders,” David said. “I was very happy about that.”
“I love Bernie,” he added.
“Finding Your Roots,” which is headed into its fourth season, allows celebrity guests to uncover the secrets in their family trees. In a past episode, Ben Affleck found out that he had a slave-owning ancestor.
David doesn’t specify how closely related to the former presidential candidate and Vermont senator, but he said it’s probably something around a “third cousin.”
“We traced all the lines and everything and they told me later on so Bernie Sanders was a part of that line somehow,” he explained, much to the shock of co-star Jeff Garlin, who was also on the panel.
“There are Nazis in my family! There were slave holders,” David added, causing more gasps from Garlin (although it’s hard to tell if he’s joking).
Getting David to impersonate Sanders on “Saturday Night Live” — even co-starring in a sketch with candidate — was a perfect bit of casting, which David confirmed later in the panel. He said the decision to get him on the sketch comedy show happened naturally and very quickly.
“During the first debate between Bernie and Hillary, Lorne Michaels got emails and calls telling him that I should be doing Bernie Sanders,” David explained. He said that his agent soon called him up, allowing David to show off his impersonation.
He said, “it would be a good thing for ‘SNL,’ not thinking in a million years. He hung up immediately and called Lorne Michaels ten minutes later.”